From February 7–16, 2019, the Kennedy Center presents its fourth annual celebration of the Lunar New Year, honoring the traditional holiday as commemorated in countries and territories around the world. The popular free KC Chinese New Year Family Day returns to celebrate the Year of the Pig with live demonstrations and hands-on craft activities throughout the building.
The cornerstone event of this year’s Lunar New Year festivities is the return of the distinguished ballet company National Ballet of China, performing its award-winning ballet, Raise the Red Lantern. Last seen at the Center’s Festival of China in 2005, the evening-length work will be performed with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and guest musicians.
Transformed for the stage from the hit 1991 film by acclaimed director Zhang Yimou and choreographer Wang Xinpeng and Wang Yuanyuan, the production tells the haunting tale of a concubine sold by her mother into a stifling world of jealousy and resentment. Her love for an opera actor and the jealousy of a rival concubine lead to tragic consequences as the women compete for the raised red lantern, the signal of their master’s favoritism. The production includes traditional cheongsam outfits, mesmerizing melodies, and elements of Chinese opera and shadow puppet theater to bring this powerful story of love, jealousy, and tragedy to life.
“It is a pleasure to welcome back the National Ballet of China for this year’s Lunar New Year Celebration. With its hybrid of western ballet and Chinese culture, the renowned company has won a distinguished reputation for performing cherished works and original creations,” says Alicia Adams, Vice President of International Programming. “We are so excited to celebrate our Lunar New Year with free events for the whole family including traditional folk music on the Millennium Stage and a fun-filled day highlighting the culture of the Guangdong Province with interactive activities and demonstrations.”
Located within the coastal region of southeast China, the Guangdong region is known for its Mooncakes, a traditional pastry; and for the Lion Dance, a traditional dance in which performers, dressed in lions costumes, mimic a lion’s movements to bring good luck and fortune.
In 2005, the Kennedy Center presented a month long Festival of China. The festival featured four weeks of unprecedented performances and exhibitions from 900 artists, including eight premieres and more than a dozen free events. In 2011, the Center presented China: The Art of Nation, a month long celebration of Chinese art, featuring music, dance, performances for children, and visual art installations. In 2016, the Kennedy Center launched the inaugural Lunar New Year Celebration (now an annual event), which included a special concert by the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Muhai Tang.
A full schedule of events follows:
During the Lunar New Year celebration, February 7–16, the Center will feature a Chinese Lantern Light Installation in the Hall of States and on the River Terrace. In addition, two pig sculptures will be located in the Hall of States and Hall of Nations.
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Millennium Stage, 6 p.m.
Guangdong National Orchestra Ensemble presents Chinese folk music featuring members of the Guangdong National Orchestra playing instruments such as the pipa, erhu, daruan, guzheng gunagdong gaohu, and others.
Friday, February 8, 2019
Millennium Stage, 6 p.m.
Guangdong Arts Troupe presents a magical program of dance, acrobatics, and puppetry by prominent award-winning artists from the Guangdong province: Guangzhou Song & Dance, Guangdong Puppet Theater, Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe, and Guangzhou Cantonese Theater.
KC Chinese New Year Family Day 2019
Saturday, February 9, 2019
10 a.m.–4 p.m.
The Kennedy Center will be kicking off the Year of the Pig by celebrating the arts and culture of the Guangdong Province of China. Located within the coastal region of southeast China, the Guangdong region is known for its Mooncakes, a traditional pastry; and for the Lion Dance, a form of traditional dance in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume to bring good luck and fortune.
Children of all ages can enjoy free activities including an opera costume photo booth, making red lanterns and paper opera masks, marionette puppets, face painting, zodiac stickers, calligraphy, and more. Free performances of the Lion Dance, folk music, Lingnan puppets, and contortionists will also be part of the celebration.
Patrons can also take a guided tour of the Kennedy Center in Mandarin. The tour begins at 11 a.m. at the Tour Desk located by the Level A Gift Shop.
National Ballet of China: Raise the Red Lantern
With the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and guest musicians
Kennedy Center Opera House
Wednesday, February 13–16, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 16. 2019 at 1:30 p.m.